Kendrick Perkins was definitely a beast last night as he scored 10 points, pulled down a career high 20 (Yes, TWENTY)rebounds, and blocked two shots to set the tone for last night's win over the Pistons. Perk absolutely dominated Rasheed Wallace who had 23 points but had to shoot 24 shots to get them. He also only managed 4 rebounds.
KG showed last night that he is all the way back from his injury as he scored 31 points to go with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block. He scored inside and outside and played very good defense as well. He showed the leadership that has pulled this team together when he had words with Perk and Posey after they were fighting for a rebound. KG reminded them to communicate and they got the message.
Rondo showed that he is absolutely capable of running this team against the Pistons and any other team as he took it to Chauncey Billups the entire game. He finished with 16 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists and had the NBA Play of the Day (and maybe the month) when he blew past Rip Hamilton and went in for a monster tomahawk dunk in Maxiel's face. Maxiel fouled him hard and should have gotten a flagrant foul on the play since Rondo looked like a rag doll as he was slammed to the floor by Maxiel. This kid is tough. He got up and calmly went to the line for his free throw. No complaining, no emotion, just great composure. I loved the way Big Baby and KG rushed over to pick him up and KG was in his ear, probably telling him that he was THE MAN! He did get under Chauncey Billups skin as Billups picked up a technical in the 4th quarter and he had Rip talking to himself after the dunk. As great as that dunk was, I think my favorite play was where Rondo drove into the lane and got Chauncey to fall for the fake as he dipped his shoulder and drew the foul and hit the shot. Here is a look at Rondo's Play of the Day.
Ray Allen may not have scored much (3 points on 1 of 9 shooting), but his defense on Rip Hamilton was superb. He held Hamilton to a very pedestrian 15 points. He also took quite a shot from Rasheed Wallace as he was getting up from coming down wrong on his ankle. Bodies were flying everywhere last night.
Both teams took care of the ball with the Pistons turning it over only 8 times and the Celtics 11. Both teams had only 3 turnovers in the second half. The Celtics biggest lead was 14 and the Pistons cut the lead to 2 at one time and tied the game at 69 another time, but they never led. The Celtics outscored the Pistons 44-30 in the paint behind the strong efforts of Perk, KG and Rondo taking it to the basket.
This was a very, very big win for the Celtics. Sure, the Pistons played the night before and had to travel, but for a team of their caliber, that shouldn't have mattered. With so much on the line, it should have motivated them to play that much harder. The Celtics became the first team to clinch a playoff berth with this win and also won the tie breaker with Detroit should they finish with identical records. They also took a big step toward securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs. And, what should be scary to the other teams in the league, PJ Brown and Sam Cassell haven't even played yet.